Sometimes you might notice that mushrooms show up in parts of your lawn, especially after prolonged wet weather. They can come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. While some are large and easily visible, you may also notice smaller mushrooms growing in your yard. These can be hard to spot when your lawn is thick.
They are pretty common thing to having growing in your yard and although they aren’t bad for your grass, they are a little unsightly. Some of them also have the potential to cause harm to your children and pets so you’ll probably be wondering how to get rid of them.
Why You Have Mushrooms in Your Lawn
There’s little reason to be alarmed by mushrooms in your lawn.
Mushrooms are the flowers of a fungus that come from the soil inside your lawn.
By the time you see mushrooms, the fungus is already established underground.
Mushrooms are actually a sign of a healthy lawn because they need a healthy and rich environment to grow in.
Mushrooms are mostly likely to appear when the conditions are mostly moist and cool. They thrive in darker environments. If the conditions are just right, the fungus shoots up its own version of a flower full of seeds.
There are many different types of mushrooms and they all have different optimal conditions for growth.
They often start to come out at dusk.
They feed off a ground full of decaying organic matter. This can include leaves, animals waste, dead grass and even dead tree roots.
Mushrooms can also feed off construction debris in a recently constructed home.
Are Mushrooms Bad for Your Lawn?
Mushrooms will not certainly not hurt your grass; mushrooms will actually help the health of your lawn.
Their root systems hold water and they can help to break down organic materials.
Although they aren’t bad for your lawn, you may want to remove them since they can be an eye sore in the middle or your nice green grass.
The other reasons why people want to remove mushrooms from their lawn is to keep their children and pets form coming into contact with them.
Are Lawn Mushrooms Poisonous?
Most mushrooms you may find in your lawn are not the type you would want to eat. The majority you may find in your lawn are harmless but this is not always the case.
Although it’s extremely rare, ingesting lawn mushrooms can be deadly.
For example, in Colorado there is one mushroom variety found in lawns called the destroying angel mushroom.
Only a very small percentage of mushrooms are edible so you do not want to harvest and eat wild mushrooms.
Unless you are an expert in identifying what mushrooms are edible, you need to be very careful with this.
If you are not experienced, we don’t recommend trying to identify mushrooms in your lawn and there are no simple tests that will tell you if your mushrooms are poisonous or not.
The problem is that some mushrooms that are deadly look very similar to mushrooms that are edible.
Are the Mushrooms in Your Yard Poisonous to Dogs?
Mushrooms in the yard is something all dog owners should be aware of, especially if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors.
Experts say that even the most common mushrooms in your yard can make your dog sick without you even knowing.
Many dogs like to eat whatever they can find and the best way to prevent this is to make sure there is no fungi in your lawn.
Make sure where you’re letting them to go outside is safe and closely monitor their movements.
You might be concerned about your animals or children being around mushrooms so it’s good to know how to remove them and keep them under control. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to do so.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Lawn
While you can eliminate the visible mushrooms by knocking them down through raking or mowing the grass, this is not you want to do if you want to prevent mushrooms from growing in future.
Allowing the spores to spread around your lawn can cause the growth of more mushrooms so it’s important the you take care of them using either of the following methods.
Pulling Mushrooms Out by Hand
One option of getting rid of mushrooms in your lawn is pulling them out by hand.
You can use a container to collect them. Once you have pulled them out, you’ll want to put them straight into the trash.
Try to avoid spores spreading in your lawn as much as possible.
Be sure to wash your hands after handling mushrooms.
Starving the Mushrooms of Moisture
The best preventative method to stop the growth of mushrooms in your lawn is to modify the conditions in your yard to provide an environment in which they struggle to grow.
As mentioned before, mushrooms tend to grow well when there is a lot of moisture.
If you have a constant presence of mushrooms in your lawn and you are not in an area where it rains a lot, there is a chance that you’re over watering the lawn.
Make sure you’re watering the lawn appropriately for the climate you live in.
It’s best to give you grass between 1-1.5” of water per week.
You want to ensure your lawn gets enough water but you allow the soil to completely dry out between soakings.
By reducing the amount of water and preventing excess moisture in your lawn, you can help to prevent the conditions that mushroom will thrive in.
Another way to reduce moisture, is to have better drainage in your lawn.
The easiest way to do this is to regularly aerate and dethatch the soil.
It’s also good to mow your lawn often to keep your grass at a shorter height.
Since shorter grass dries out much faster than tall grass so through regular mowing, you’ll be able to reduce the moisture that the mushrooms need to grow.
Reducing Organic Material in Your Lawn
Another way to help stop mushrooms from growing in your lawn is to reduce the amount of organic material in your yard. Organic material will be any plant or animal material involved in the decomposition process.
It’s a good idea to rake up any leaves, grass clippings, animal waste or any other organic material that you find in your yard.
Make sure you get rid of anything that may break down and feed the mushrooms growth.
Mushrooms do well in darker conditions so if you want to prevent mushrooms from growing in your lawn, try to maximize the amount of sunlight that your yard gets.
Your grass will thank you also.
In order to decrease shade, make sure you cut back any overgrown trees or shrubs that cover problem areas.
The extra sunshine should help to take care of the problem.
Applying a nitrogen rich fertilizer such like ammonium sulfate on your lawn helps the decomposition process of any organic material in your soil that the mushrooms use to grow.
Fungicides can help some but the key thing to note here is that the fungus is in the soil and so the fungicide must reach the soil in order to be effective.
If you are going to use fungicides to take care of mushrooms, you’ll need to do a double treatment with a granular fungicide and a spray fungicide.
You want to spray so that the fungicide can get right down into the soil. This is not going to kill the mushrooms but it will help control the fungus that is inside the ground
Digging up Organic Material
Sometimes you may have an area that is very prone to mushroom growth. This can be caused by the presence of organic material in the soil.
For example, you may have an area where large amounts of saw dust was deposited on the ground during construction.
Perhaps a tree stump was removed some time ago but there are still some dead roots in the soil.
If you feel so inclined to prevent mushrooms from growing in this area, you could consider totally eradicated this part by digging up this material up and starting your lawn again.
In most cases, you won’t want to do this. It will be expensive and time consuming to do this.
If you plan to cut down trees or remove shrubs in the future, make sure you remove the roots completely to prevent a mushroom problem further down the line.
You might be seeing mushrooms growing in a circular pattern in your lawn.
This is called a fairy ring.
The circular pattern forms as the mushroom colony expands from the decaying roots of what used to be a tree that was previously cut down in your yard.
The rings are caused by mycelia. This fungal growth feeds on the organic matter in the soil.
To take care of the problem, you’ll want to core aerate the lawn and apply fertilizer.
Alternative Solution to Remove Mushrooms
In general, its best to stay away from products that are not designed for the lawn but sometimes it’s fun to get a little creative.
The following technique works great for getting rid of mushrooms.
By using dishwashing detergent mixed with water, you can spread the mix down onto the most affected areas.
This simple home remedy works great. It will help to neutralize the soil to prevent the fungus growth.
Dishwashing detergent will not harm your lawn, it will only leave it will a fresh smelling scent.
The takeaway message here is that mushrooms will not cause any harm to your lawn. They show you that soil is doing its job well by providing a healthy environment for them to grow in.
The bad part, is that they’re not very nice to look at. They can be an eye sore in the middle of your yard and you don’t want to eat them since they can be toxic.
If you have children, make sure they are well aware that they should not eat the mushrooms. Be careful when letting your pets outside if there are mushrooms present in the lawn too.
While total eradication is difficult, a few simple steps to reduce the moisture and organic matter that mushrooms need to thrive is usually always the best approach to help you get rid of them and prevent them from coming back in the future.